[[caption-width-right:280:Just like you, only he writes songs.]]

-> ''"I find it hard to write about myself—or to write from a personal point of view. So the way I get around that is by writing from the perspective of a giant squid."''
-->-- '''Jonathan Coulton''', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyqBrux7BSg&feature=related in an interview]]

Jonathan Coulton (born December 1, 1970) is a primarily internet-based musician who writes songs on all sorts of stuff, though his more popular songs tend to cater to the nerd or pop-culture crowd. You probably know him best as the writer of ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'''s ending song, "Still Alive". He also gained fame before that for his "Thing-A-Week" series of albums, wherein he challenged himself to write and record one song a week for an entire year, and actually did it.

Notable for being one of the first musicians to fully embrace the online model of earning money for his songs - most of his songs are available free on [[http://www.jonathancoulton.com/ his website]], if you want to dig through his blog, but they're also all for sale through a variety of media. He also uses the Internet to gauge where to perform - if enough fans petition him, he'll plan a concert for you.

He often performs with Music/PaulAndStorm, and has done collaborations with Music/MCFrontalot. He has been involved in several Podcast/RiffTrax, including playing some songs before the live ''Film/Plan9FromOuterSpace''. He's the resident musician on the Creator/{{NPR}} game show ''Radio/AskMeAnother''. He is also the "Official Contributing Troubadour" of ''Popular Science'' magazine, and sang the opening theme for their podcast. He also has a handful of songs featured in ''VideoGame/RockBand''. As mentioned above, he wrote the credits song for ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'', "Still Alive", as well as [[VideoGame/Portal2 the sequel's]], "Want You Gone". He's also long-time friends with John Hodgman, has written songs for Hodgman's book tours (which he often participates in), and has appeared on all three audiobooks for Hodgman's Literature/CompleteWorldKnowledge series. Lately, he's done the [[PreviouslyOn recap songs]] for ''Series/BrainDead2016''. Basically, he's popular, is what we're getting at.

In 2013, he became noted by the media when his [[RearrangeTheSong rearrangement]] of Music/SirMixALot's "Baby Got Back" was used by ''Series/{{Glee}}'' without his permission (to the point of keeping various changes like a duck being used as a SoundEffectBleep). [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement And that's all we need to say on it]].

In other media, Coulton worked with ComicBook writer Greg Pak on a comic miniseries/graphic novel based on the characters from many of his songs, named ''ComicBook/CodeMonkeySaveWorld''. The {{Website/Kickstarter}} project finished with 872% of its goal.

You can go [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/BestEpisode/JonathanCoulton here]] to vote for his best songs.

Studio Albums:
* ''Smoking Monkey'' (2003)
* ''Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow'' (2004)
* ''Our Bodies, Ourselves, Our Cybernetic Arms'' (2005)
* ''Thing A Week One'' (2006)
* ''Thing A Week Two'' (2006)
* ''Thing A Week Three'' (2006)
* ''Thing A Week Four'' (2006)
* ''Artificial Heart'' (2011)
* ''One Christmas At a Time'' (2012; with John Roderick)
* ''Solid State'' (2017)

Live Albums:
* ''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis Best. Concert. Ever.]]'' (2009)

* ''[=JoCo=] Looks Back'' (2008)
* ''Jonathan Coulton's Greatest Hit (Plus 13 Other Songs)'' (2012)


!!Tropes Related to this Musician Include:

* AffablyEvil:
** Bob the zombie from "Re: Your Brains", who spends the whole song politely trying to convince Tom to open the door so he can eat his brains.
** The scientist who lives in Skullcrusher Mountain is downright friendly to his kidnapped "girlfriend", he just has no idea how to go about it. Scarface is likewise "a sweetheart".
* AffectionateParody: His song "Big Dick Farts a Polka" is one for/of his longtime touring partners Music/PaulAndStorm. They returned the favor with "Live", which riffs off Coulton's common "MadScientist In Love" theme.
* AndNowYouMustMarryMe: "The Future Soon".
* AntiChristmasSong: "Chiron Beta Prime", framed as a Christmas family letter... after humanity lost a RobotWar and the narrator's family has been banished to an asteroid mining colony named Chiron Beta Prime.
* AntiLoveSong: A staple. Many of Coulton's songs ("Skullcrusher Mountain", "Code Monkey", "The Future Soon" "Till The Money Comes", "Want You Gone", and others) are essentially love songs with varying levels of [[DysfunctionJunction complete and utter dysfunctionality]]. And then there's "Someone Is Crazy".
-->The world's against you so you think or maybe wish it was\\
And at least that way someone would care but baby no one does\\
Not even you\\
Baby someone is crazy and it's you.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: the eponymous Creepy Doll's crimes against the narrator include sleeping in the narrator's bed, moving around when the narrator isn't looking, and ... asking if he really needs that much honey in his tea.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: played with in "Ikea": the narrator things Sweden was founded by [[Norse/NorseMythology Thor]], and that Ikea was one of the first things to be created in the country, along with Vikings and longboats.
* AudienceParticipationSong: Parts of the chorus for "Re: Your Brains." [[StylisticSuck To be sung as zombies.]]
* BlatantLies: "Not About You", basically a BreakupSong for the hopelessly-in-denial.
* BodyHorror:
** ''Better'' is about a man who breaks up with his heavily cyberneticized girlfriend because of her hideous appearance. The woman is thirteen feet tall with infrared cameras for eyes, gills, wings, and built-in weapons.
** The half-pony, half-monkey monster from "Skullcrusher Mountain". The only descriptions we get of it are "I used too many monkeys" and "I ruined a pony", and judging by the fact that the unnamed love interest won't stop screaming, it's probably exactly as horrific as it sounds.
* BreakupSong: "Not About You" and "Always the Moon" among several others.
* CaptainOblivious: In "Betty and Me", the narrator misses the obvious signs of his wife cheating on him.
* CelebrityIsOverrated: "Tom Cruise Crazy"
* ComicallyMissingThePoint:
** The EvilOverlord from "Skullcrusher Mountain" about [[WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove love]].
** In "Re: Your Brains", Bob's idea of a "compromise" for Tom not opening the door for him and his zombie horde is "If you open up the door, we'll all come inside and eat your brains."
* CouldSayItBut: In "The Presidents":
--> And I don't like to make political statements \\
[[spoiler:''[[[SubvertedTrope remains silent for the last line of the song]]]'']]
* TheCoverChangesTheGender: His cover of Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know" surprisingly averts this, lending an interesting twist to the song.
* TheCoverChangesTheMeaning: His cover of Sir-Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back".
* CreepyDoll: The doll in "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Creepy Doll]]" always follows you, has a ruined eye that's always open, and has a pretty mouth to swallow you whole.
* {{Crossover}}: In his ending theme for''VideoGame/LEGODimensions'', [[spoiler: [=GLaDOS=]]] mentions that she's met ComicBook/{{Batman}}, who is "kind of a big deal".
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul:
** "The Future Soon", although portrayed with [[LyricalDissonance very upbeat guitar and somewhat comical lyrics.]]
** "Artificial Heart" has the subject lose the ability to care after getting his [[TitleDrop artificial heart]].
* {{Cyborg}}:
** ''Future Soon'' is about a nerdy kid day-dreaming about replacing his body with cybernetics so he won't be "weak and strange" any more. His hypothetical future girlfriend also has bionic eyes.
** ''Better'' is about a man breaking up with his girlfriend who's modified herself into a 13-foot tall abomination.
** ''Todd the T-1000'' has the singer get a "smasher, like the trunk of a tree" and a saw implanted to intimidate his malfunctioning android butler into respecting him.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: The "space lab in space" from "Future Soon."
* DesignerBaby: ''Betty and Me'' is about a loutish husband who (at least thinks) his son will be one ([[spoiler: it's pretty clear that his wife's cheating on him with the geneticist]]).
* DidWeJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu: "The Princess Who Saved Herself" singlehandedly defeats a dragon -- and then she offers him tea, and he comes over to visit her weekly, and when the princess forms a band, the dragon plays bass.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: "The Princess Who Saved Herself" singlehandedly defeats a dragon by tying his tail to a tree, tells him off to his face, makes him ''cry'', and gets him to ''apologize''!
* DoggedNiceGuy: "Soft Rocked By Me"
* DontYouLikeIt: The EvilOverlord narrating "Skullcrusher Mountain" is trying so hard to please his captive love interest, but doesn't quite understand that she wouldn't like a half-pony, half-monkey monster.
* DrivenToSuicide: The vampire in "Blue Sunny Day".
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: "My Monkey", "Code Monkey", "Monkey Shines"...
* EvilOverlord: "Skullcrusher Mountain" sung from the perspective of one in love.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: From "I Feel Fantastic": "All I know is that the steak tastes better when I take my ''steak-tastes-better'' pill."
* FauxAffablyEvil: the scientist in "Skullcrusher Mountain" has his affable facade slip when reminds the girl that "this mountain is covered with wolves".
* FoeYay: "Nemeses". [[invoked]]
* GadgeteerGenius: "The Future Soon".
* GoldDigger:
** "Millionaire Girlfriend" has an average guy daydreaming about having one.
** "Till the Money Comes" is about a guy who hates his wife but decides to hang around until she comes into money so that he can divorce her and take half of it.
* GratuitousFrench: ''Je Suis Rick Springfield'' is written entirely in poor French. In his live shows, Coulton insists that it's the ''character's'' bad French, and not his. The bridge, presumably from the viewpoint of the people "Rick" is talking to, [[LampshadeHanging hangs a lampshade]]:
-->Je ne comprends pas cet idiot[[note]]I don't understand this idiot[[/note]]\\
Quelque chose sur un très bon chien?[[note]]Something about a very good dog?[[/note]]
* GreatestHitsAlbum:
** ''[=JoCo=] Looks Back'' collects the best of his ''Thing A Week'' project.
** ''[[SelfDeprecation Jonathan Coulton's Greatest Hit (Plus 13 Other Songs)]]''
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: "Just As Long As Me"- a folksy song about a Huge Guy who is tired of Tiny Girls and wants a woman of his size for once.
* HulkSpeak: "Code Monkey"; although it's a reference to B.A.S.I.C. programming. (Code_Monkey get: up/get: coffee Code_Monkey goto: job...)
* IDoNotLikeGreenEggsAndHam: The narrator of "Ikea" is dismissive of the title store at first, but by the third verse he's singing praises about what a great deal it is.
* IHaveYouNowMyPretty: "Skullcrusher Mountain"
* IJustWantToBeNormal: That poor giant squid in "I Crush Everything" wants nothing more than to live a normal life. Too bad he's a ''giant'' squid.
* IWantMyJetpack: "The Future Soon".
* IntercourseWithYou:
** Subverted in "First of May", we think....
** Played straight in "Soft Rocked by Me".
* InTheStyleOf: Changed the iTunes listing of his "Baby Got Back" cover to a sarcastic "...(In The Style Of ''Series/{{Glee}}'')" after they essentially used his arrangement without his permission and told him he should be thankful for the publicity. However, he's donating all proceeds from the sale of the song to the It Gets Better Foundation and VH1 Save The Music as a result.
* LocationSong: "I Hate California", about his hatred for California.
* LoveMartyr: The narrator of "Betty and Me." Betty repeatedly cheats on him and insults him and he's conned out of money by the other man. He still shows devotion to Betty. While he is honestly too stupid to realize that Betty is cheating on him, he just kind of accepts the insults.
* LyricalDissonance: "I Feel Fantastic" is a subversion. The guy with a different pill for every single occasion of his day is perfectly happy being drugged up to the max, even if we, the listener, are aware of how terrible it is.
%%** "Shop Vac". %% incomplete example - what is the mood of the song, and why is it dissonant?
%%** "Blue Sunny Day". %% incomplete example - what is the mood of the song, and why is it dissonant?
* MachineWorship: "The Future Soon".
* MadScientist: "Skullcrusher Mountain" is probably the best known, though "The Future Soon" and other songs contain similar themes.
* TheManIsStickingItToTheMan: "Sticking It To Myself".
* ManlyTears: "Soft Rocked by Me" has:
-->Have you ever been in love with a man who's sensitive?\\
Have you ever spent the night with a man who cries?\\
Well that's me, I'm sensitive\\
And I cry, I'm crying right now\\
In a manly way
* MixAndMatchCritters: The [[AllGirlsLikePonies half pony]], [[EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys half monkey]] [[BodyHorror monster]] from "Skullcrusher Mountain".
* MotorMouth: "I Feel Fantastic," a song about a guy with a pill for every occasion. Literally.
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg: His GreatestHits album is an inversion - ''Jonathan Coulton's Greatest Hit (Plus 13 Other Songs)''
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: [[TheIgor Scarface]].
* NewscasterCameo: Soterios Johnson of [=WNYC=] Radio's [=NPR=] Morning Edition, the subject of ''Dance Soterios Johnson Dance".
* NoMrBondIExpectYouToDine: the general premise of "Skullcrusher Mountain".
* NonIndicativeTitle:
** "You Ruined Everything" is ''not'' a BreakupSong; it's actually a very ''happy and loving'' song.
** On the other side of the coin, "Pictures of Cats" is not a cheerful song about cats (or really about cats at all).
* NoodleIncident: "He brings it up again; the famous apple fritter incident of 2010."
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: "Re: Your Brains" features a very talkative, charismatic one who tries to talk a man into opening the door so he and the other zombies can eat his brains. You can almost imagine it working, he's that good.
* PowersuitMonkey: "Code Monkey" describes a monkey working as a programmer (or maybe just a monkey-like human programmer) who sings in HulkSpeak.
%%* PrettyPrincessPowerhouse: "The Princess Who Saved Herself"
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: His live album "Best. Concert. Ever."
* RedShirt: The official theme song of [[Literature/{{Redshirts}} the novel by John Scalzi]].
* RickRoll: He likes to do this in the middle of "Mr. Fancy Pants" thanks to the electric machine he uses for the backing beat.
* RobotMaid: "Todd the T1000" is about a guy who feels threatened by his robot butler.
* RobotWar:
** ''Chiron-Beta Prime'' is set in the aftermath of one; with the POV character and his family "Toiling in a mine for our Robot Overlords-Did I say 'Overlords?' I meant 'Protectors!'"
** ''Todd the T-1000'' is a one-man robot war; with the POV character trying to reclaim his life from his evil android butler.
** "The Future Soon" has the narrator talk about starting one by creating a warrior robot race. The events of the war are unrevealed except that it led to Laura losing her eyes.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: "The Princess Who Saved Herself." She does. Twice. And then she forms a band with the dragon and the witch she saved herself from.
* RuleOfThree: He wrote the ending themes to both ''Portal'' games, both sung by [=GLaDOS=]. [[spoiler: So of course, he also wrote a song for her appearance in ''VideoGame/LEGODimensions''!]]
* SelfDeprecation: His GreatestHits album is titled ''Jonathan Coulton's Greatest Hit (Plus 13 Other Songs)''.
* ShapedLikeItself:
** "Shop Vac" includes the line "I like that Starbucks here, it's better than the other one / 'Cause the other one's not as good." The bland, hollow, circular reasoning fits well with the song's theme of the bland, hollow, circular life the protagonists are leading.
** In "Betty and Me", Dr. Martin's method of making a DesignerBaby is described as "legal in the states where it wasn't banned".
** In "Kenesaw Mountain Landis", the title character will "always be remembered as Kenesaw Mountain Landis".
* SiameseTwinSongs: On "[=JoCo=] Looks Back", "Creepy Doll" does this... and leads into "[[MoodWhiplash Mr. Fancy Pants]]".
* StalkerWithACrush: Very common theme.
* StepfordSuburbia:
** "Brookline" portrays the title town in such a manner, from the point of view of one of the people who still has enough self-awareness to notice its unsettling nature.
** "Shop Vac" also has shades of this.
* StrangeSyntaxSpeaker: Code Monkey mimics the B.A.S.I.C. programming language (ie, 10subject->task->goto->20 etc.)
* StupidStatementDanceMix: Has done a few, such as "Beds Hurt My Booty".
* StylisticSuck: the final chorus of "Re: Your Brains" is sung by a chorus of moaning, groaning zombies.
* SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion: Unusually, "First of May" ends its chorus with a line ''more'' obscene than the one the rhyme scheme leads the viewer to expect.
* SuicideBySunlight: "Blue Sunny Day".
* ThirdPersonPerson: The titular Code Monkey of "Code Monkey" only ever refers to Code Monkey as such.
* ToiletHumor: "Big Dick Farts a Polka".
* UnreliableNarrator: implied in "Creepy Doll", when the last verse reveals that "the bag of big-city money" is still sitting in the house. Was the narrator actually plagued by a creepy talking doll, or was he just nuts?
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: "Kenesaw Mountain Landis", tells the story of the first Commissioner of Baseball and how he dealt with the Black Sox scandal. It has some relation to the actual events.
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech: "I Crush Everything" is one of these in song form. The reason the giant squid hates himself is because while he just wants to make friends with the dolphins and play with the pretty white ships, he can't do it without breaking them.
* YouAreNotAlone: "I'm Your Moon". Even if Pluto is no longer one of the planets, its moon Charon is still there for it.
* YourCheatingHeart: Betty of "Betty and Me" cheats on her husband with Dr. Martin, though the poor sap is completely oblivious.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: The zombie in "Re: Your Brains" keeps asking the guy to "compromise" with the zombies outside, but this involves just letting them in to eat his brains.
* ZombieApocalypse: "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQYjZc7gKXc Re: Your Brains]]"